Washington National Cathedral Weddings
Potok's World Photography

Washington National Cathedral Weddings

Not long ago, we were hosting some friends of ours from Hannover, Germany, during their visit to Washington, DC. While taking them on a walking tour of the Nation’s Capital, we were walking from the White House to the U.S. Capitol down Pennsylvania Avenue. As we showed them various points of interest along the way, one of our German friends asked us where in the Washington, DC, metro area we had taken pictures of our wedding and engagement clients. We stopped to think about it for a moment and then replied, “Pretty much everywhere that we have been with you today!” We realized that we have posed fiancés and newlyweds by the Washington Monument, Tidal Basin, Jefferson Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, District of Columbia War Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Reflecting Pool, World War II Memorial, National Bank of Washington and U.S. Capitol, in addition to a host of other notable sites in Washington, DC, and Northern Virginia. It sometimes truly does feel like we have posed brides and grooms in for our cameras everywhere in the Nation’s Capital!

One famous landmark at which we have not had as many opportunities to photograph couples in love, however, is the Washington National Cathedral. Though it is possible to book spaces in that venue, it is not very common (in our experience) for future spouses to have their wedding ceremonies at that notable Washington institution. That is why until recently, we had only taken pictures of one part of one marriage celebration at the National Cathedral. A bride and groom who lived across the street from the church got ready in their home and had us take the wedding party pictures and groom portraits in the garden behind the cathedral before their ceremony at St. Augustine Church.

Ever since we first picked up our cameras, though, we have always wanted to photograph a couple’s nuptials inside that Neo-Gothic architectural masterpiece, and we had the great fortune of getting that chance at a recent wedding. A bride- and groom-to-be who were having larger celebration of their marriage vows later in the year had an intimate civil ceremony in Bethlehem Chapel, a lovely space in the basement of the cathedral. The couple tied the knot in front of a small limestone altar, while their families and wedding guests watched from between ornate Gothic columns and beneath a beautiful arched ceiling. These soon-to-be spouses had a touching ceremony, and the coziness of the chapel helped accentuate the obvious connection between them in the photographs we took.

After the exchange of vows, the newlyweds and their wedding guests came outside to the side of the Washington National Cathedral and walked through a narrow gate that led into the Bishop’s Garden. Truly one of the jewels of the cathedral grounds, the garden was built into terraces on the south side of the hill on which the church sits and features plants and trees with Biblical, historical and local significance. After taking some family formals pictures in the grassy expanse at the foot the Bishop’s Garden, we took the new husband and wife back up along the winding path for some couple’s portraits.

Though the early spring day was hot and the sun was bright in the sky, we had no trouble finding shaded nooks amid the flowers and trees in which to pose the newlyweds for unforgettable pictures. We started by capturing some images of them kissing beneath an old stone arch half-hidden by the greenery that had grown over and around it. Afterwards, we got some beautiful shots of the bride and groom cuddling and laughing with the south face of the National Cathedral in the background. We concluded the photo tour of the Bishop’s Garden with some photos amid the lovely tulips in full bloom. That is where we captured this magical image of the groom gently kissing his new wife on the forehead.

Location: Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016.